Panther trio cop fines for damage
PENRITH captain Nathan Cleary and teammate Tyrone May have been fined over their antics in the aftermath of the Panthers’ grand final win.
Cleary was fined $7000 on Tuesday for showing disrespect to the legacy of rugby league legends Norm Provan and Arthur Summons, and teammate Tyrone May was slapped with a $7500 breach notice and ordered to undergo education over his use of social media in a costly postscript to premiership celebrations.
Teammate Stephen Crichton was also fined $4000 after parading the damaged premiership trophy in a pram, an action NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said was disrespectful to the game and memory of Summons and Provan.
While Cleary and May were hit in the hip pocket, there was good news for them when the NRL opted not to take action against them over the grand final border hopping involving three of their friends.
Regardless, they had their copybooks blotted as the Panthers came under intense scrutiny over the way they handled their premiership win. At the heart of the NRL’s concern was the damage done to the premiership trophy that bears the famous image of Summons and Provan embracing after the 1963 grand final.
The sculpture of the pair was separated from the base as the Panthers players celebrated the win over South Sydney.
While the trophy has been damaged previously, the concern for the NRL was the way the sculpture of two of the game’s greatest players was treated, with social media images emerging of Penrith players carrying it in a pram and a baby pouch.
The NRL believed the actions showed little regard for Summons or Provan, the latter of whom passed away last week at the age of 88.
May was also fined after posting an image and comments on social media in which he appeared to take aim at those who had criticised him after he avoided jail for filming a woman without her consent.
May and Cleary were also interviewed by the NRL integrity unit after three friends attended the grand final. The trio celebrated with Penrith players a day later before being fined and sent home by Queensland Health for breaching public health orders.
There was no suggestion Cleary or May knew they were at the grand final but they were spoken to by the integrity unit.
Penrith acknowledged the breach notices issued to May, Crichton and Cleary and revealed May had been stood down from all club-related duties until further notice.
The Panthers said the matter would be considered further at a meeting of the club’s board of directors.
In regards to Crichton and Cleary, Panthers Group chief executive Brian Fletcher said: “The Panthers players had no intention to show disrespect towards the trophy, Norm Provan or Arthur Summons, however they understand that’s how their actions may have been interpreted.
“Everyone at Panthers is well aware of the immense contributions Norm and Arthur made to our game.
“On behalf of the club, I sincerely apologise for any offence or distress this matter may have caused the rugby league community and particularly the Provan and Summons families.”